Prophylactic drainage of the abdominal cavity after gastro-intestinal surgery is widely used. The rationale is that intra-abdominal drainage enhances early detection of complications (gastro-intestinal leakage, hemorrhage, bile leak), prevents collection of fluid or pus, reduces morbidity and mortality, and decreases the duration of hospital stay. However, dogmatic attitudes favoring systematic drain placement should be questioned. The aim of this review was to evaluate the evidence supporting systematic use of prophylactic abdominal drainage following gastrectomy, pancreatectomy, liver resection, and rectal resection. Based on this review of the literature: (i) there was no evidence in favor of intra-peritoneal drainage following total or sub-total gastrectomy with respect to morbidity-mortality, nor was it helpful in the diagnosis or management of leakage, however the level of evidence is low, (ii) following pancreatic resection, data are conflicting but, overall, suggest that the absence of drainage is prejudicial, and support the notion that short-term drainage is better than long-term drainage, (iii) after liver resection without hepatico-intestinal anastomosis, high level evidence supports that there is no need for abdominal drainage, and (iv) following rectal resection, data are insufficient to establish recommendations. However, results from the French multicenter randomized controlled trial GRECCAR5 (NCT01269567) should provide new evidence this coming year. Accumulating data support that systematic drainage of the abdominal cavity in digestive surgery is a non-beneficial and obsolete practice, except following pancreatectomy where the consensus appears to indicate the usefulness of short-term drainage. While the level of evidence is high for liver resections, new randomized controlled trials are awaited regarding gastric, pancreatic and rectal surgery.El texto completo de este artículo está disponible en PDF.
Keywords : Prophylactic drainage, Abdominal surgery, Morbidity, Stomach, Pancreas, Liver, Rectum, Review